Remarks by Assistant Administrator for Africa and PFG Coordinator Eric G. Postel, Memorandum of Agreement Signing between USAID Cities Development Initiative Partner Cities

Monday, December 15, 2014

[As Prepared]


I would like to commend our three partner cities—Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, and Iloilo—for entering into sister-city agreements among yourselves. I am encouraged by your initiative to share your learnings with each other and support each other’s initiatives.

Your cities are the first three cities in the Philippines supported by USAID under the Cities Development Initiative (CDI). As you very well know, the CDI is an important part of the Partnership for Growth Agreement that was signed between the Governments of the Philippines and the United States. The CDI started with your cities because we saw the potential in each of you. And today, I can say, in all sincerity, that we made the right choices.

In the past three years, there have been significant improvements in the business climate in your cities. Your efforts to improve business processes - like reducing the number of steps, required documents, number of signatures and amount of time needed to obtain a permit - have increased revenues and number of businesses registered. You moved beyond compliance with the Philippine Government’s minimum standards in business permit and licensing systems towards automation. The establishment of online business permitting systems in your cities sent a strong signal that you are benchmarking with global best practices.

In the past three years, your cities have become more attractive investment destinations. The Business Forums that you organized can attest to this. The continuing interest of investors in your cities, the awards and recognitions you garnered from national government agencies, the positive feedback from businesses both in and out of your cities—all indicate that you have transformed your cities into investment magnets.

You have become models for economic growth and competitive cities that are hubs of economic activity, creating opportunities and generating employment not only for your constituents, but also for those living in surrounding areas. You have gained much in three years and we know that can you achieve even more.

USAID will continue to partner with you as you move forward in improving basic public services, strengthening your human capital, ensuring environmental resiliency, and improving governance.

I hope that as the CDI community grows, our cities continue working together to achieve resilient, broad-based, and sustainable growth for the entire nation.

Thank you.

Issuing Country